N: My Encounter with Racism and the Forbidden Word in an American Classic

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$18.99  $17.66
Fortress Press
Publish Date
5.43 X 8.5 X 0.63 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

James Henry Harris is Distinguished Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology and a research scholar in religion and humanities at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University. He also serves as chair of the theology faculty and pastor of Second Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. He is a former president of the Academy of Homiletics and recipient of the Henry Luce Fellowship in Theology. He is the author of numerous books, including Beyond the Tyranny of the Text and Black Suffering: Silent Pain, Hidden Hope (Fortress Press, 2020).


"James Henry Harris--reverend, thinker, professor, public intellectual, and social activist--has confronted one of the most fraught topics in American history and illuminated it with visceral power. An enthralling, moving, and emotional journey of encounter, suffering, and victory." --William C. McDonald, professor, University of Virginia

"This is an elegant, heartfelt rumination on America's crucible of race. Engaging, beautifully crafted, and analytically powerful. By blending the narrative voice of a memoirist and the sharp insights of a true scholar, Harris achieves a remarkable literary triumph." --Tim Wise, author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

"James Henry Harris offers an outstanding analysis of the pain and degradation caused by using the n- word. His compelling story will stir your emotions, challenge your thinking, and keep you reading." --Jacqueline Madison-McCreary, pastor, First Baptist Church of New Market, Piscataway, New Jersey

"Harris's courageous memoir confronts the long debate over Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and its use of the N-word. Marshaling critics from Hegel to bell hooks, and calling on a family history of resistance, Harris challenges his instructor and classmates, and in turn inspires his readers, to redress the long history of American racism and white supremacy bound up with the epithet." --Mark A. Sanders, University of Notre Dame

"James Henry Harris masterfully takes the reader on an experiential journey with an American classic as both analysis and memoir. N: My Encounter with Racism and the Forbidden Word in an American Classic articulates the gravitas and visceral effects of the singular word in the English language, a word that still holds America in the grips of its nebulous struggle to traverse its path of liberty and justice for all. As Harris speaks from the heart, the reader will be forever transformed by his impassioned words." --Lisa Baldwin-Wilson, DMin student, Samuel De Witt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University

"Incendiary in the cleanliness of its outrage, N by James Henry Harris gives the real-life account of a Black man blindsided by the most insufferable word in the American lexicon, and his attempt to symbolize the ensuing trauma of being ambushed by it in the halls of academia. In this pursuit, Harris offers a winning critique of race and place, with the grace of an aging scholar trying to make sense of the forbidden word." --Tony Baugh, author of Groan in the Throat Vol. 1: "White Supremacy Is a Religion" and Other Essays on Being Black, Keeping the Faith, and Surviving America